Self-drive holidays are incredibly popular at the moment due to their perfect mix of freedom and isolation.
Many places in northern France have become well-liked in the last few weeks, with holidaymakers enjoying the shorter drive from Calais. However, for those willing to go further, many more wonderful destinations – and ports – await…
Here, Heaven Publicity has compiled five self-drive holidays. Although some might mean sitting in the car for a little longer, all are worth it on arrival.
Less than two hours from Roscoff
A top-value break, with Al Fresco Holidays
Head to the 3* Domaine de Ker Ys, in the heart of Brittany’s countryside, and take in the typical Breton atmosphere. It’s a magical spot with a heated swimming pool, slides, waterfall and whirlpool. With direct beach access from the park, make the most of the wonderful coastal walks or play on the sandy beach. With a pick of on-site entertainment, nearby water sports and a range of local sites to visit, the Ker Ys is homely, and you can feel the original spirit of a campsite. Al Fresco Holidays offers a seven-night holiday at 3* Domaine de Ker Ys on 21 August for £1,124 (based on a family on six sharing a two-bedroom Puccini Riviera mobile home). Price includes return ferry travel from Plymouth – Roscoff – 1hr 23 minute (82.2 km).
Al Fresco Holidays (0161 332 8900, www.alfresco-holidays.com)
Less than two hours from Saint-Malo
Enjoy balmy Brittany in France this summer, with Le Boat
Home of the series of Bergerac, guests can admire Celtic land laced in canalised rivers studded with towering castles seemingly at every turn. And being not far from the North Atlantic coast, seafood at takeaway cafés is in order. Venture to Dinan for the museums, historic sites and fine restaurants. Cruising north to Dinan puts guests on the canal and cruising south on the Vilaine takes travellers all the way to the sea at the commercial port of La Roche-Bernard. The Vilaine is a total of 218 kilometres (135 miles) and it’s delightful. With four cabins, Classique boat rentals sleeps a maximum of eight. There are cabins fitted with bunk beds for kids and singles that convert to doubles for adults. A seven-night self-catered stay on a Classique, which sleeps up to eight people, starting and ending in Messac, departing 24 August 2020, is priced from £296.12 pp / £2,369 per boat (Save £300, was £2,639). No boating license or experience necessary. Take Brittany Ferries to St Malo www.brittany-ferries.co.uk, just over an hour’s drive from the port to the base – 119 km. Prices from £745 return for up to eight passengers.
Le Boat (023 9222 2177, www.leboat.co.uk)
Three hours from Calais
Relax on a getaway near Deauville and Normandy in France, with Pierre & Vacances
Stay at the 5* Pierre & Vacances premium residence Presqu’île de La Touques, between the vibrant French coastal towns of Deauville and Trouville in Normandy for a cultural holiday. Offering stylish seaside accommodation just one hour – by car – from Caen, the property boasts a cardio training space, a Deep Nature Spa® and both an indoor and outdoor pool. Often referred to as the Parisian Riviera, thanks to its popularity among those residing in France’s capital, chic Deauville is highly regarded for its grand casino, white sandy beach and catalogue of exquisite restaurants that are all dusted with Belle Epoque sophistication. All year-round visitors to Deauville can admire the impressive boats at the marina, take a pleasant stroll along the boardwalk – that is decorated with deck chairs and beach huts dedicated to Hollywood A-listers who have visited the seaside town – or pass the time with some up-market shopping. By contrast, Trouville is an authentic seaside commune that existed long before the conception of Deauville in the 1800s. Trouville is one of France’s original coastal resorts, whose stylish villas have attracted artists and emperors, but whose lively fishing port has preserved a down-to-earth and family-friendly atmosphere. Galleries and seafood restaurants are abundant in the town, but for most, it is the wide and welcoming beach that remains the highlight. A week’s stay, arriving 15 August 2020, at Presqu’île de La Touques is priced from €573.50 / £515 pp (€2,294 / £2,062 per apartment) based on four people sharing a one-bedroom apartment on a self-catered basis. Transport to the resort extra.
Pierre & Vacances (0870 0267 145, www.pierreetvacances.com/gb-en)
Less than nine hours from Calais
More in Morzine, France, with VIP Chalets
For many, the news that is it safe to take a summer holiday in Europe is welcome after months of lockdown. In VIP Chalets’ opinion, the Alps could be the ideal choice for a post lockdown getaway and is probably far safer than heading to Bournemouth beach. Whether looking to sit back and relax or indulge that inner-adrenaline junkie, there’s plenty on offer in Morzine, a traditional French village in the Portes du Soleil region. Enjoy swimming, walking, white-water rafting, fishing, mountain biking and many other activities in the sweeping valleys. Having opened on 4 July 2020, stay at The Manoir, which is based in the heart of Morzine and just 200 metres away from the lifts. Built in 1790, and once the home of the local Notary, The Manoir has been completely renovated with all the modern-day essentials. Guests can relax in the spacious house with five en-suite bedrooms (three of which offer extra beds for children), two airy lounges (one with flat-screen TV), a sophisticated dining room and an outdoor hot tub affording incredible views. The Manoir is the ideal chalet for a larger group to book sole occupancy 10-15 people (three-night minimum stay). Fire up the BBQ and dine on delectable local produce, while enjoying a glass of smooth Savoie wine and watching the sun set behind the massifs. Prices for the 2020 summer season start from £595 pp per week (two sharing) on a self-catering basis.
VIP Chalets (0208 875 1957, www.vip-chalets.com)
More than 10 hours from Calais, but with a break in Chambéry en route
A road trip to the French Riviera, with Summer France
Although the journey time to the French Riviera, from Calais, takes more than 10 hours, why not break it up with a stop at a boutique chateau en route? With its flexible arrivals and stays, even during the peak summer holidays, Summer France offers the perfect remedy for a hassle-free road trip. Three miles from the centre of Chambéry, the Château de Candie is a luxury four-star castle that blends past and present seamlessly. Think claw footed baths, walk in showers and tall windows. The castle also has its own vineyard, which yields circa 3,000 bottles of white, Viognier wine, each year. Enjoy the drive through France to reach the chateau and spend a few days being wined and dined. Then continue the journey to the French Riviera where a self-catered villa with its own private pool awaits. Situated in Saint-Maxime, the Restanques du Carré Beauchênevillas (sleeping up to eight people) blend beautifully into the spectacular southern landscape and are a gateway to the glittering Côte d’Azur. Play a round of golf, jump in the cooling pool or take a ferry to the glamorous town of Saint-Tropez. A three-night stay, from 26-29 August 2020, at the Chateau de Candie costs from £481 total for two people sharing an executive room including breakfast. A five-night stay, from 29 August to 3 September, at Restanques du Carre Beauchene, costs from £1,562 total for a three-bedroom prestige villa sleeping up to eight. Accommodation only. Transport extra.
Summer France (0203 475 4756, www.summerfrance.co.uk)